Thunder Knob Trail at Diablo Lake

Thunder Knob Trail at Diablo Lake

Lake Diablo has been on my must-see list for a long time. Located right off of the North Cascades Highway, I knew if I wanted to see it this year, I would have to act fast. Snow’s coming, and eventually the unbelievably scenic highway will be closed for winter.

We picked a Saturday we had free, loaded up the dogs and headed for the mountains. We stopped in Twisp for a break, and to pick up some lunch items for a picnic after our hike. I also can never resist a local bakery, so we headed to Cinnamon Twisp Bakery to get some goodies for breakfast. We ordered the “Cinnamon Twisps” and they were so delicious and really large. I will definitely go back to this bakery the next time I’m in Twisp!

After our stop, we had about another hour or so until we were to the lake. Before we get to that, let me just tell you how beautiful the drive is. From what appears to be out of nowhere the highway leads you through huge towering mountains, both rocky and wooded. I wanted to stop a hundred times to get out and take pictures, and while I didn’t – lots of other people took advantage of the many pull-outs to get out of the car and gawk at the views.

And then, after you’ve gained quite a bit of elevation, you get to the lake. THE lake. Diablo lake. AKA, one of the prettiest lakes you will ever see. We stopped at the overlook turnout to take some pictures and take in the view. Then we drove a little ways to the Thunder Knob trailhead to park our car and start our hike. (The parking for this trail is located right on the side of the highway, across from the Colonial Creek Campground.)

The hike was great – not too difficult, but definitely wore us out. According to the WTA website, it’s 3.6 miles round trip. You start out walking close to some walk-in campsites which are really close to the lake. There was a really pretty creek that my dogs enjoyed getting into. For the most part, you can’t see the lake during the hike. It’s still really pretty and very green. When you do get to the top though, the view of the lake is gorgeous, although partially obstructed due to huge trees. The breeze at the top is welcoming, and it’s so easy to just sit in awe at the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

When we got back down, we walked to the water’s edge and had our lunch right by the water. I couldn’t help but sit there and think, there’s not a single place I’d rather be right now.

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Here’s a video of our hike!

Let me know if you have any questions about this hike! I’d be happy to answer!


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